Touring New Zealand for the first time in four years, veteran Australian comedian Carl Barron talks to Kathryn King ahead of his southern visit this week.
For someone who holds the honour of having Australia's highest-selling standup comedy DVD, comedy veteran Carl Barron doesn't spare much thought for his fame.
Having tread the boards as a comic for 20 years, with numerous television appearances, DVDs and awards to his name - including the aforementioned accolade for his 2004 DVD Carl Barron Live - Barron visits Queenstown tonight and Invercargill tomorrow as part of his national tour A One Ended Stick.
"People" call his comedy observational, usually for ease of reference, but he's not overly keen on labels.
His comedy, he says, is pretty straightforward.
"I just talk about everyday stuff, and about life really."
After 20 years on stage, you might think he'd be out of things to say, but they just keep coming.
"Ever since I started, you just get ideas, everybody gets ideas but I've always written them down, and that's what they are, ideas about life. Is that inspiration? I think people think inspiration is a lightning bolt from the sky, but it's ideas.
"I don't know what other people are doing, but I get lots of ideas, write them down then go and tell somebody. That's the process.
"It seems very simple to me."
Hot on the heels of his tour, filming is set to begin on Barron's first movie, penned by himself and a co-writer.
The film will be Barron's first foray into the genre, and will be shot in Australia in March-April.
Based on the life of a standup comic on the road, it is a collection of Barron's experiences over the past 20 years.
"Being on the road is tough, but it's not a bad life.
"It was quite easy because it's all there, it's all stuff that happened."
A fiction book is also simmering away in the background but, too buggered while on tour to flesh it out, he expects it will probably be finished before he dies.
In between shows, he likes to catch up on reading and to walk.
"I just drift around, I've been drifting around my whole life. I go on stage and, when I'm not on stage, I just float about, no direction.
"I guess when you float around you're sort of open, it's kinda like work really, I don't have a desk or anything, I don't work like that. I just walk the streets. I don't walk them to get ideas but, when I do, I get ideas and I write them down."
He likes visiting New Zealand - "it's not too mental" and the audiences seem respectful.
Despite his status in the comedy world, the recognition he gets, and the possibility of silver-screen stardom, Barron says he doesn't feel famous, and hopes he never will.
"It's not modesty. I don't feel famous. I'm sitting in a house in the suburbs right now, I feel the way I've always felt.
"I don't want to be like people you see on television on the red carpet.
"I love being on stage, that's the only bit I like, and making people laugh.
"If you deliver some funny jokes, people like it. Keep working on funny jokes and stories, as long as they're laughing every night, laughing hard, that's all I care about." Carl Barron's A One Ended Stick, Queenstown Memorial Hall, tonight, and Civic Theatre, Invercargill, tomorrow.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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